“Nixon in China”

Settings by Shilpa Gupta at Théâtre du Châtelet

Paris, 11 April 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). Indian artist Shilpa Gupta is creating the set design for John Adams’ opera Nixon in China which is playing at the Théâtre du Châtelet until 18 April 2012. This documentary opera or docu-opera created in 1987, recounts the historic 20th century event of American President Richard Nixon’s 1972 meeting with China’s leader, Mao Tse-Tung. It describes the confrontation between two worlds, two ideologies, the crossed manipulations, and the leaders’ role along with the complexity of protocol. In an interview published by the Quotidien des Arts on 11 April 2012, Shilpa Gupta explained that this project traces back to last year, when the theatre’s director, Jean-Luc Choplin, wishing to give a more Asian oriented interpretation for the work, got in touch with her. Deeply interested by the opera’s subject, she agreed. Shilpa Gulpa already dealt with China in some of her works, and particularly with Maoism in Heat Book, where heat makes a steel book red hot, referring to The Little Red Book and to the blood spilt by the Maoist ideology. Still from this “Asian” perspective, Chinese choreographer Shi-Ziang was entrusted with the show’s production. For her set design, Shilpa Gupta went into partnership with video artist Olivier Roset, who made montages of images taken from archives. These montages are displayed during the second act. This act’s setting is made of dozens of monitors broadcasting the videos and installed on the ceiling. Another monumental element by Shilpa Gupta is a polystyrene statue of Mao. This statue is 8.25 meters high (11 meters including the pedestal). Born in 1976 in Bombay, a city which she loves deeply and where she still works today, Shilpa Gupta studied sculpture at the Sir J.J School of Art and finished her studies in 1997. Her work is consists of...

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